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Comic Legends: Marvel Gets In Trouble for a Spider-Man Villain's House

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-second week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends. Click here for Part 2 of this week's legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

Marvel had to apologize for using a real person's home as the basis for a Spider-Man villain's home.

STATUS:

True

Reader Azor C. wrote me about this literally over a decade ago. Hey, better later than never!

Anyhow, it is about Amazing Spider-Man #138, by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt. Peter Parker is forced out of his apartment and has to bunk temporarily with Flash Thompson in Far Rockaway, Queens.

That villain, the Mindworm, gets a bunch of people to come to his house at night (here is his origin, as well)..

Spidey stopped him by seriously just punching him in the ears, which made him go deaf. Kind of a twisted ending, actually, no?

Anyhow, in the letter page of Amazing Spider-Man #149, there was the following message, "We regret the fashion in which we depicted the Mindworm's house in the November 1974 issue, as it is an actual residence located in the Rockaway section of Queens."

Azor wanted to know what the deal was with that message, and as it turned out, Gerry Conway explained it all when these issues were reprinted in the Marvel Masterworks a while back, noting:

Marvel got into a bit of legal trouble when the owner of the house Ross used as visual reference for the home of the Mindworm complained that neighborhood kids were hanging around hoping to catch a glimpse of the guy with the oversized brain.

Andru loved to use real buildings in his work, and here, it backfired!

Thanks for the suggestion, Azor! Hopefully you're still reading this column 10 years later. Thanks to Gerry Conway for the answer!

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Why did Tom Welling balk at doing the original version of Smallville's series finale?

OK, that's it for this week!

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See you all next week!

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